Spy chiefs should be more transparent in their depositions: Gordon Brown

March 19th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by admin  

Gordon Brown

London, Mar.19 (ANI): British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has introduced a set of proposals that if approved, would make it mandatory for the countrys intelligence chiefs to give public evidence on key national security issues.
According to The Times, Brown wants MI6, MI5 and GCHQ, the signals intelligence centre, to be more transparent and open to scrutiny.
The White Paper on national security strategy will include a plan for the security and intelligence services to appear before MPs in Parliament when it is judged to be appropriate.
At present, under a system that has existed for 14 years, the heads of the agencies and other senior officials from MI6, MI5 and GCHQ give evidence in private to the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).
Brown wants to introduce reforms to allow better public scrutiny of the way the ISC works.
One proposal that the ISC be converted into a normal select committee, with all hearings before MPs held in public, has been rejected.
The national security strategy White Paper is expected to set out a mechanism for holding some of the meetings in public.
The intelligence and security agencies have given their support for more public scrutiny on the condition that it does not compromise secret sources or damage operational sensitivities. (ANI)

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